A Sheet of 8 etchings A young man and two elders

Francesco Mazzola alias Parmigianino

Collezione Fondazione Cariparma

Collezione Fondazione Cariparma
Parma, Italy

The sheet, of heavy laid paper, has an unidentified watermark, but similar to others produced in Italy between 1520 and 1530. It comes from the personal collection of Antonio Lafreri (1512 - 1577) who was an engraver and publisher in Rome. The eight small prints, which are part of Parmigianino's engravings corpus, are laid out on a single sheet. The artists printed multiple plates on the same sheet and then they trimmed individual images for the collectors' market. Considering the rarity of each single etching, this specimen is probably unique in the world.

The figure of the boy, with messy hair and an elegantly elongated body in twist, stands out against the background of the sky crossed by sparse clouds. The young man suddenly turns to the pair of men, as if surprised by their presence, and as he turns around he slips his cloak from his shoulders, so much so that he has to grab it with a sudden but elegant gesture. The composition is based on a skilful asymmetry, on a harmonious and intriguing imbalance of proportions and attitudes of the different characters, of the expressive strength of the two old men as opposed to the unripe seduction of the young.


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